Presumptive Disability Law in North Carolina

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CODE PART:
North Carolina General Statutes
Chapter 143 - State Departments, Institutions, and Commissions
Article 12A - Public Safety Employees' Death Benefits Act.
North Carolina Legislative Website
DESCRIPTION:
Section 143-166.1. Purpose. In consideration of hazardous public service rendered to the people of this State, there is hereby provided a system of benefits for dependents of law-enforcement officers, firefighters, rescue squad workers, and senior Civil Air Patrol members killed in the discharge of their official duties, and for dependents of noncustodial employees of the Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice of the Department of Public Safety killed by an individual or individuals in the custody of the Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice of the Department of Public Safety. (1959, c. 1323, s. 1; 1965, c. 937; 1973, c. 634, s. 2; 1975, c. 284, s. 6; 1977, c. 797; 1983, c. 761, s. 236; 2018-5, s. 35.29(a).)

143-166.2. Definitions. The following definitions apply in this Article:
  1. Covered person. – This term shall apply to all of the following individuals:
    1. Firefighters.
    2. Law enforcement officers.
    3. Noncustodial employees of the Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice of the Department of Public Safety.
    4. Rescue squad workers.
    5. Senior Civil Air Patrol members.
  2. Firefighter. – This term shall apply to all of the following individuals:
    1. Firefighters as defined in G.S. 58-84-5.
    2. Eligible firefighters as defined in G.S. 58-86-2, notwithstanding any age requirements set out in Article 86 of Chapter 58 of the General Statutes.
    3. Full-time, permanent part-time, and temporary employees of the North Carolina Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services during the time they are actively engaged in firefighting activities or emergency response activities pursuant to G.S. 166A-19.77.
    4. Full-time employees of the North Carolina Department of Insurance during the time they are actively engaged in firefighting activities and during the time they are training firefighters.
    5. County fire marshals when engaged in the performance of their county duties.
    6. All otherwise eligible individuals who, while actively engaged as firefighters, are acting in the capacity of a fire instructor outside their own department or squad.
  3. Killed in the line of duty. – This term shall apply to all of the following deaths:
    1. When the death of a firefighter occurs as a direct and proximate result of any of the following cancers that are occupationally related to firefighting, that firefighter is presumed to have been killed in the line of duty:
      1. Mesothelioma.
      2. Testicular cancer.
      3. Intestinal cancer.
      4. Esophageal cancer.


Section 143-166.3. Payments; determination
  1. When any covered person is killed in the line of duty, the Industrial Commission shall award a death benefit in the amount of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) to be paid to one of the following:
    1. The spouse of the covered person if there is a surviving spouse.
    2. If there is no surviving spouse, then payments shall be made to any surviving dependent child of the covered person. If there is more than one surviving dependent child, then the payment shall be made to and equally divided among all surviving dependent children.
    3. If there is no surviving spouse and no surviving dependent child or children, then payments shall be made to any surviving dependent parent of the covered person. If there is more than one surviving dependent parent, then the payments shall be made to and equally divided between the surviving dependent parents of the covered person.
    4. If there is no surviving spouse, surviving dependent child, or surviving parent, then the payment shall be made to the estate of the deceased covered person.
  2. Repealed by Session Laws 2018-5, s. 35.29(a), effective retroactively to April 1, 2017, and applicable to qualifying deaths occurring on or after that date.
  3. (d) Repealed by Session Laws 2015-88, s. 9, effective July 1, 2015. (1959, c. 1323, s. 1; 1965, c. 937; 1971, c. 960; 1973, c. 634, s. 2; 1975, c. 284, s. 8; 2003-284, s. 30.18A(a); 2015-88, s. 9; 2018-5, s. 35.29(a).)


Section 143-166.4. Funds; conclusiveness of award. Such award of benefits as is provided for by this Article shall be paid from the Contingency and Emergency Fund and such amounts as may be required to pay benefits provided for by this Article are hereby appropriated from said fund for this special purpose. The Industrial Commission shall have power to make necessary rules and regulations for the administration of the provisions of this Article. It shall be vested with power to make all determinations necessary for the administration of this Article and all of its decisions and determinations shall be final and conclusive and not subject to review or reversal except by the Industrial Commission itself. The Industrial Commission shall keep a record of all proceedings conducted under this Article and shall have the right to subpoena any persons and records which it may deem necessary in making its determinations, and the Industrial Commission shall further have the power to require all persons called as witnesses to testify under oath or affirmation, and any member of the Industrial Commission may administer oaths. If any person shall refuse to comply with any subpoena issued hereunder or to testify with respect to any matter relevant to proceedings conducted under this Article, the Superior Court of Wake County, on application of the Industrial Commission, may issue an order requiring such person to comply with the subpoena and to testify; and any failure to obey any such order of the court may be punished by the court as for contempt. (1959, c. 1323, s. 1; 1965, c. 937.)

Section 143-166.5. Other benefits not affected. None of the other benefits now provided for law-enforcement officers, or other persons covered by this Article, or their dependents by the Workers' Compensation Act or other laws shall be affected by the provisions of this Article, and the benefits provided for herein shall not be diminished, abated or otherwise affected by such other provisions of law. (1959, c. 1323, s. 1; 1965, c. 937; 1979, c. 245; c. 714, s. 2.)

Section 143-166.6 Awards exempt from taxes.
Any award made under the provisions of this Article shall be exempt from taxation by the State or any political subdivision. The Industrial Commission shall not be responsible for any determination of the validity of any claims against said awards and shall distribute the death benefit awards directly to the dependent or dependents entitled thereto under the provisions of this Article. (1959, c. 1323, s. 1; 1965, c. 937.)

Section 143-166.7. Applicability of Article. The provisions of this Article shall apply and be in full force and effect with respect to any law-enforcement officer, firefighter, rescue squad worker or senior Civil Air Patrol member killed in the line of duty on or after May 13, 1975. The provisions of this Article shall apply with respect to full-time, permanent part-time and temporary employees of the North Carolina Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services killed in the line of duty on or after July 1, 1975. The provisions of this Article shall apply to county fire marshals and emergency services coordinators killed in the line of duty on and after July 1, 1988. The provisions of this Article shall apply to noncustodial employees of the Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice of the Department of Public Safety who are killed in the line of duty on and after April 1, 2017. (1965, c. 937; 1973, c. 634, s. 3; 1975, c. 284, s. 9; 1981, c. 944, s. 2; 1987 (Reg. Sess., 1988), c. 1050, s. 2; 1989, c. 727, s. 218(98); 1997-443, s. 11A.119(a); 2011-145, s. 13.25(tt); 2013-155, s. 21; 2018-5, s. 35.29(a).)